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This note’s for Murs and 9th Wonder

You know what’s always nice? When you roll off the couch at the ass crack of noon, and you’re presented with a new, free album by a group you kinda like.

It happened to me just now. I awoke from my alcohol and discouragement induced coma, cranked up the Internets, and there it was – a new album by Murs and 9th Wonder, presented by the skateboard clothing company Hurley. Bonus!

Granted it’s not like I paid jack shit for either of the other two Murs and 9th Wonder albums. But I do find that there’s a certain thrill in being given something for free, even if you could have gotten it for free otherwise.

It’s like when a slutty broad comes up to you, like, “Hey, you wanna fuck this pussy?” Sure, you probably could have just asked her and she would have been like, “Um, okay,” especially if she’s a little bit slow. But having her ask you is a nice boost to the ego.

Er, I’m assuming it would be. Girls don’t generally offer me shit. I have to work hard for every little thing I get, as if I was a person with a low IQ.

But I digress.

One thing that struck me about the new, free Murs and 9th Wonder album, which I’ve yet actually listen to (hopefully, it’s not a bunch of songs about skateboard clothes), is that, on the page where you can download it for free, just beneath the download link, there’s a link where you can send Hurley a donation.

The fuck?

I checked, and it really is a link where you can send these assholes some money, via PayPal. You can also give them your email address, in case you want them to send you a bunch of emails about skateboard clothes – though they make it a point to note that they’re not gonna sell your email address to any other companies.

I guess that’s what the donation is for – to cover the windfall they’ve forgone by not selling your email address to spammers.

No but really, I thought the way these things worked is, the artist receives a fee from the corporation in exchange for his bullshit, now-worthless cosign, KRS-One-style; and the benefit to you, the consumer, is that, while you have to endure the pain of watching yet another one of your favorite artists sell out, at least you don’t have to spend any money.

With this Hurley bullshit, it’s like a double whammy. You get to watch them co-opt your culture, and then they hold out a cup, as if they were the only black people you see in downtown Chicago. (It’s true, I was there.)

I was reading a story in the New York Times recently about how these artists are increasingly having to resort to these endorsement deals to make any money from their music, and the gist I got from it was that, if there’s any benefit at all to you, the erstwhile fan, it’s that at least you don’t have to come out of your own pocket.

For example, it was talking about some of these deals Nike has done with performers. Like the one they did with KRS-One and Kanye West and DJ Premier (which was actually nominated for a Grammy), and some other ones, with some acts I wasn’t as familiar with. It was breaking down the business end of this shit, and basically what it was saying was that Nike could give a rat’s ass about making any money from the actual recordings. For them, this is just a branding exercise.

So where as, with a typical recording contract, the TIs take the lion’s share of any profits from album sales and the artist might not get shit, ever, artists in these endorsement deals get a way higher cut from each single or album sale. And that’s in addition to the fee they receive from appearing in an advertisement in the first place. So regardless of whether or not they sell as many copies as they would otherwise, they end up making way more money.

Furthermore, the story in the Times said that, in the case of the joint with KRS-One and Kanye West, Nike donated the entirety of the profits it received to some charity I never heard of. Which, admittedly, could just be some program where they donate Air Jordans to school kids in the ghetto and hope to god they don’t get robbed for them. I’ve heard Nike has programs like that. Those fuckers.

At any rate, I’m wondering: If a company like Nike is willing to go to such lengths to make it seem as if them subsidizing hip-hop culture is almost actually a good idea, how come Murs and 9th Wonder’s deal with Hurley has been compromised to such a degree? Could it be that Hurley just doesn’t have that much money for marketing, and so they need these donations to help cover whatever fee Murs and 9th Wonder received?

If that’s the case, maybe Murs and 9th Wonder should have held out for a deal with a better company. It’s bad enough I’ve got to get my free music from a page with a corporate logo on it, rather than from some kid who’s just running Adsense. But I’m certainly not about to cut Hurley a check to help fund its marketing campaign. What about you fruits? Would you ever donate money to company because you especially liked one of its advertisements?

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